Know Your Farmer

“Shake the hand that feeds you.” – Michael Pollan

OZblu is unique in that we are 100% vertically integrated.

Ahhh…. Vertically integrated? No, we do not stand on each other’s heads, and we don’t grow our blueberries up walls! Vertically Integrated means that we are responsible for and take ownership of every stage of the blueberries’ production – from breeding, to planting, to growing, to harvesting, to packing, to transporting and distribution.

 

That’s right – we grow, we pick, we pack, we deliver. Ensuring quality in every stage of the process.

 

It’s this hands-on approach at every stage of the production cycle that ensures you get the biggest, boldest, juiciest blueberries on your plate (or in your bowl!)

Our Farms

Collectively, OZblu has 26 farms across Australia, North America, South America, Southern and Northern Africa and Southern Europe.

 

By spreading our production geographically and growing the blueberries out of the rainy season in each area, OZblu is able to produce blueberries in most growing areas, like South Africa almost 52 weeks of the year. The varieties are very similar throughout the year, therefore we are in the unique position of being able to provide the consumer with a reliable and consistent high quality blueberry experience year-round.

 

Our first commercial plantings in South Africa were made in 2013.  Since then we have made a significant investment in our South African blueberry production with a select group of licensed growers. Our own properties and grower group is 26 strong at this point, with a combined acreage of no less than 1000ha.

 

Taking advantage of the different climates and rainfall seasons across South Africa our growing areas range from traditional berry-producing regions in the south to newer regions like Gauteng, Limpopo and Northwest Province.

 

Innovatively, 70% of OZblu blueberry growers are situated in the north of the country, trailblazing berry production in non-traditional berry areas like Modimolle and Groblersdal.

 

The northern region’s season runs until mid-November, with the southern region’s season following roughly a month later.

 

OZblu is currently investing to expand our blueberry orchards in Chile, Peru and Mexico and we are looking to start our first orchard in the US in 2018.

OZblu Farm South Africa
OZblu Nyami Berry Farm
52

weeks of blueberry production

7

varieties

1000

hectares

26

growers

Meet Some of Our Farmers

OZblu Blueberry Farmer

Eben Wepener,

Wolseley, Western Cape, South Africa

If you want to be the best, be the best.

Eben Wepener is a proud OZblu farmer in Wolseley – a small town in the upper Breede River Valley region of the Western Cape province of South Africa. An area perfectly suited to growing OZblu’s due to its excellent water quality as well as soil structure.

 

Eben’s farm employs 35 permanent staff members and 125 seasonal workers during peak season. Due to a bumper blueberry crop in 2017 he plans on doubling his workforce in 2018 creating much needed employment opportunities in this area.

 

“The challenge to produce good quality berries itself is what drives me as a farmer. Along with the satisfaction of seeing how a plant grows from a seedling to a big bush in less than two years. Managing fruit size and taste for specific markets and receiving positive feedback from customers about the quality of my blueberries is what gives me pleasure. Farming is my passion and I strive to be the best blueberry grower in our company.”

 

When Eben isn’t out in his fields you can find him fishing, hiking, and baking… with blueberries of course!

We asked Eben a couple of questions to get to know him better:

 

What’s your superpower?

“x-ray vision.”

 

What inspires you?

Self-motivated people.

 

What’s the most important thing to do to live a happy life?

“Have a sense of humour.”

 

What’s the most important thing to do to live a long and healthy life?


“Eat less from a box and more from the earth.”

 

If you could wave a magic wand, what ill in the world would you solve and why?


“The Western Cape drought.”